Monday, July 30, 2012

The one where you discover something in your house

I have this dream occasionally. Well it's not the exact same dream, but the theme is the same. I'm at my very own house, which is not the house I live in now, but you know how that goes in dreams. And I discover that there are drawers and cupboards with stuff that the former owner of the house has left behind. The joy of discovery follows, with the hope that maybe there's something of monetary value. For me, these dreams assume the former owners have passed on, btw.

In last night's dream, there was someone with me, and I was showing them all the spots where there were things left behind. There were lots of slide carousels, and little junk drawer things.

Now that I think about it, the usual dream I have with this theme is discovering clothes in drawers or closets, where I open drawers of my dresser and discover all these nice clothes that are clearly mine, but that I don't remember having.

No, this one was about discovering someone else's stuff in my house, and the stuff needed to be gone through. There was the potential of something valuable, but I couldn't get to it because I had a visitor over. Oh, well I think I see, as I'm typing. Yes, it's stream of consciousness blogging...

Mr W's dad has been out of town for the last couple of weeks, and he's been staying with me. I love having him here, and part of me wishes we could just continue this arrangement indefinitely. But I've been feeling the pull to get more things made and listed on my Etsy site so I can get some momentum and start selling more things. It's a whole other post (or two) to delve a little more into why I'm selling this stuff, but I do feel at the moment that I still need to build inventory. I think the dream reflected how I feel my time is divided lately.

In other news, we had a break in the weather yesterday, and it was in the low 70's and drizzling by late afternoon. It felt great, and I took advantage of the lower temps to turn the oven on and make some stuff.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Button pitch

I'm taking a sample of my buttons to a fabric/sewing store downtown today to see if the owner is interested in buying some. Yes, I know a few don't have holes. I'm going to use those for bracelets, and wanted to give some samples of color blends I've made.

It's been a busy week with getting Mr W to his Percussion camp every day. I've been working on my laptop while he's in the school and actually getting a good bit of stuff done, so I don't feel like I'm wasting that time. I also attended a volunteer meeting for the next Ignite Fort Collins, which is fun and I'm happy to help out with them. Banjo practice was last night, and Mr W and I went to one of the music stores in town and got him a rental Percussion kit. The thing comes in a suitcase with a handle, on wheels, which is good because it easily weighs 30 lbs. It's got a snare drum, a thing you and I would call a xylophone, sticks, a stand, a practice pad, all in one zipped up case.

It all makes me appreciate that my kid has a dad that is involved. I have taken advantage of the half-time parenting schedule by getting my grocery shopping and Target runs largely done when Mr W's with his dad. Since his dad's been out of town for the last couple of weeks, it's been a different thing. I'm grateful the kid can stay home by himself ("I'm not a little kid, Mom") for an hour or so at a stretch.

But things are good. I've been playing board games with people from church who get together weekly and have really enjoyed myself. It's largely the same people every week, so I'm getting to know people a little better and that's good. I joked last week that one of these days I'll play a game for the second time, and then they had all better watch out. They play so many different games that for the half dozen or so times I've attended, we've always played something different. I sincerely appreciate that a couple of them have taken a lot of time at the beginning to explain things.

Did you hear of this story? The one about how hard it is to make friends when you're over 30? I confess I didn't read it, because I feel like I've had some success through simple persistence. It did make me think about my efforts though, and feel appreciative for the friends I have made at the dog park, my Spin class, through playing the banjo, and by playing board games. Getting out and doing stuff.

Monday, July 23, 2012

We pause for station identification

Things are really busy right now. Nothing's wrong, but going straight from the road trip back to work the next day and then keeping busy with our usual stuff has me feeling a little overwhelmed.

Good news: Mr W auditioned for his middle school's Percussion group and was accepted. The teacher said there were about 25 kids wanting 8 or 9 slots, so I've very proud of him. The downside is that they have a 1 hour/day camp for the next three weeks that I need to get him to. I'll bring my laptop and try to get some work done, I guess.

I feel like everything's logistics lately. How am I going to work everything in. The button lady liked the first shipment of buttons and that makes me very happy. I need to finish the next round and get those off.

I keep telling myself that I am here to be doing this. That at the very very least, I am alive and kicking and feel grateful for the opportunity to be here and as busy as I am.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Kansas - Day 2

We've had spotty internet service, so I'm behind posting about our vacation.

We went to the Konza Prairie on Monday. Very interesting and very hot. We hiked the 2.5 mile loop trail and saw some neat stuff. Mr W was a trooper. Here he is on a little footbridge leading to the grasslands.

Here's some Ironweed. There wasn't as much blooming as I had hoped, but still a few cool things. The big pulses of flowers are in June and September. There also wasn't as much tall grass as I thought there would be. Big Bluestem, but it was kind of sparse.

Compass Plant. This one was about 5 feet tall.

A horned lizard. Definitely a highlight of the hike. It was about the size of a deck of cards. 

Butterfly weed. This was the only one that I saw for the hike. 

Mr W toward the end. It was wicked hot and the shade felt good. I like that this place has a strong educational component to it, as the ecosystem used to be dominant in the middle part of the country, and is largely gone. You can see from this that there are woodlands as part of it as well. The trees grow where there's enough water, and fire has been suppressed in some places, which lets the trees and shrubs start to come in.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kansas - Day 1

Well, we got going a little later than I thought, but it worked out fine. Long day, about 530 miles on the car. Here's Mr W ready to walk out the door. He wanted to be able to hold all his stuff. He is a really good traveler, although he spends too much time on the computer. He alternated with reading, and it's vacation, right? I worry about eyestrain - hey, I'm a mom. 

One of the informative maps at a rest stop on I-70. The bathrooms had A/C, which was nice because it was almost 100 degrees outside - Phew! 

We rented a Versa, and it's really easy to drive. I normally drive my trusty 1995 Civic, and there was a bit of a difference between the two. It's funny, Mr W's dad has two old cars and the kid rarely rides in anything close to a new car.  He kept saying how nice it was - and it was. I don't get the big car thing. This little car did everything I needed it to do and it was comfortable, too. 

I don't remember the last time I was through Kansas, but there was a stretch of about 20 miles with lots of wind turbines. It was neat to observe the transition between what it looks like above, with grassy croplands and few trees, to what it's like in eastern Kansas, which must get more water in general because there's more trees here. That said, we took a little walk around a nearby park after dinner and the grass is really dry. They don't look like they're set up to water the grass in parks.  People's lawns were dry, too.

Mr W in our room. He was duly impressed by the desk and the little refrigerator. We're getting up early-ish to visit the prairie before it gets wicked hot, but I suspect it'll still be plenty hot. That's OK, we'll bring our water and be able to turn on the A/C in the car when it's done. More pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A little trip

Mr W and I are off to the heartland tomorrow, for a few-days long road trip. I know it's going to be hot, but I've always wanted to see the Konza Prairie, a research area and remnant tallgrass prairie in Kansas. So we're renting a little (hopefully) car and going tomorrow morning.

Why Konza prairie? Well, when I worked in Toledo, Ohio, my park was close to a region called the Oak Openings, a transitional ecosystem between the tallgrass prairies of the Midwest and the Eastern Forests. It's kind of a savannah habitat out there, with beach sand in the soil from previous incarnations of Lake Erie. We'd see both prairie and forest plants in the parks. The height of the grasses (8-10' tall for some) and the variety of flower species present in prairies makes them something I want to see myself. Do I sound a little defensive? No one seems to share my passions...

But Mr W suggested a road trip and was willing to go "about 8 hours out" so I'm renting a car with good gas mileage and A/C and we're hitting the road. I called the rental place to confirm they had the reservation and an economy car and he said something like, "you'll be able to pick from what we have". I hope they have something small.

Can I tell you? I've gotten so used to staying home and doing clay stuff and sticking close to home, that the thought of preparing for a trip is a little daunting. I think that is close to the best reason to go and do it, therefore. Get out of the house and see stuff.

Sal will stay with B from the dog park, so she'll have close to her regular routine. It's hard to travel with dogs.

Oh, forgot to mention the other thing we'll do. Several years ago when I first got my iPod and was introduced to the world of podcasts, I stumbled upon one from the Kansas Historical Society called "Cool Things" where they would talk about an object from the museum and give it context. I found this so very appealing that I want to see the museum itself on our trip. It's only about an hour away from the prairie, so we'll stay a couple of nights in Topeka and see the museum. Or we'll take off that last day and go somewhere else - who knows. I want to be that flexible, and we'll see what happens. I was thinking about how different it was to travel without a smartphone. We're so connected - for better or worse.

Pending proper internet connections, I'll blog about our travels and post pictures. Yea!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Use 'em or lose em

One big benefit of moving from our old lab and office space to our current building at work is that the stairwells are wide, brightly lit, and conducive to "taking the stairs" if one should want to do so. My lab is on the second floor and my cube is on the fourth floor, so I'd would take the stairs instead of the elevators at least a couple of times a day. There's a mezzanine level at each floor, two, so it was something like eight or nine flights of stairs (if a flight is 10 steps or so).

At first, I couldn't do it without stopping, but in a few weeks, I'd be a little less out of breath as I got back to my desk. It's nice when you can do something at work that is totally permissible (like getting to your desk) and have it be exercise too.

Well, last December, they started doing construction within the building to increase the amount of office space so the rest of the people in our division can go over to the new building. As much as I like my fourth floor cube, I'll be ousted moved to the second floor. I have no power in this, and I'm glad not to have to share a cube, so there is really no problem.

During the construction, they have closed the stairwell that I used to use. So I've been taking the elevator like everyone else. A couple of days ago, as I sat at my desk for another day of writing stuff, I decided to use the stairs in the other stairwell, and go from the first to the second floor. Well, I thought those stairs only went up to the second floor or so, but they go all the way up to the top, and there's no signs saying people can't use them. Hooray! I'll now do those a couple of times a day.

However, after the first day of doing stairs, I got up from my chair at work and my calves were so tight, I couldn't think what that could be from. Spin class? We didn't do anything different than usual. Then I realized it must have been walking the stairs. Wow. Use it or lose it, and those muscles got used to not being used. It's funny how losing the strength there is painless and unnoticed. And getting it back is a little ouchy.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lucky me

I've had a streak of luck lately, the kind where I have won stuff. A few weeks ago, I saw a link to a contest sponsored by Blue Marble Biomaterials, a company that makes earth friendly chemicals (it's a pretty cool effort, IMO) where they asked for examples of people using upcycled materials in things. I sent off a picture of one of my bracelets, and got a nice reply saying that they'd open up all of the entries to voting by the public and the winner would get a $150 prize from hipcycle, a website dedicated to selling upcycled items. 

I got an email from them last week saying that they only got three entries, so they decided to split the prize and I'm going to get a $50 gift card to Hipcycle. Nice! I'm sure I can find something to like there.

Then yesterday, my friend D and I volunteered to help assemble and sew plush monsters for a company called Monster to Love, run by a family who donates one monster for each one sold. That's the kids in the picture, and we worked on the orange, red and yellow monster in the lower right corner. I don't sew well, so I pinned pieces and that was very satisfying. They're soft and squishy, a bit expensive, but I love the idea. The event took place at one of our super cool stores downtown, called Mama Said Sew, which sells yummy fabric and offers classes. 

While I was there, I looked at their offering of buttons, and saw that it was kind of sparse. Perfect for my polymer clay buttons! So I asked the shop owner if I could come by with a few samples, and she said sure, and gave me a time next week that would be good. Yea! I'm working up two new sets (4 styles each, three sizes each) to show her, plus I'll take the other ones I've worked on. She said she could either do it on consignment or buy them from me outright. Yea! again.

It gets better. I got an email last night from the guy who owns the Monster to Love company saying I had won the door prize, a $50 gift card to Mama Said Sew. Whoop! I don't sew, but have lots of friends that do, so it'll find a good home. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Garden update 7-7-12

I'd like to let the rest of the country know that I hope that you get the same rains we had yesterday. Soaking, persistent, but not scary rains that we really needed. I was looking in the paper for the rainfall totals, but their tracking ends at 8 pm, so it wasn't accurate. We must have gotten an inch of rain, which for around here is a pretty big deal. It has cooled off, too so I'm a happy camper. On to the garden pictures!


Here's all the vegetables and fruits. The soaker hose irrigation is working pretty good. The apple tree is leaning a bit, and I might have to give it some support. I'll have to ask my friend from the dog park who knows about such things.


This is the new bed. Strawberries, parsnips (yeah, we'll see how those turn out - not sure I've ever eaten one, but am willing to give it a go), cukes in the cage (bought late, and a little behind), and a couple of Marigolds from seed in front. I had planned to put potatoes in this bed, and found the garden stores sold out, so I bought some Yukon Golds from Whole Foods and waited for them to sprout, and they never did. The irony is that I am notorious for opening my pantry closet and finding spuds with four inch long purple roots coming out of them. Not these ones. Next year I'll be better prepared.


I've got my first zucchini flower this morning! This bed is a little sparse, but I've got herbs in front of the zucchini, and some freeloader broccoli (all leaves, no flowers) there as well. My one yellow pear tomato is also in this bed, which you can see on the right in the first picture. I recently gave it more irrigation hose, so I think it will be happier. It was kind of limping along.


The Nicotiana I bought last year as starts reseeded itself (a lot!). There are 8 other plants in there, Viola and Gazania, but you wouldn't know it. Next year I'll just let the Nicotiana have the whole pot and save a couple of bucks. I like how they look. Raspberries are behind them. Lots of leaves this year, a few berries. It's pretty crowded back there. One of these days I need to get in with some long gloves and see if there are berries that I can't see from the outside. 


Rogue lettuce in this one, and onions. I also have a couple of planted-late green bean plants that will hopefully go up the trellis. Carrots in here as well. I planted a lot of cantaloupe because we love it and what the heck. It seems to be having a good year. 

I'm letting it spill over and go wherever it wants, in hopes that we'll get a few good ones. Might as well get some benefit from the heat, right? 

One more picture:

I'll do a post about this soon, but I find myself seeing some parallels between doing online dating (where I was occupied with seeing how many people looked at my profile) and trying to sell my jewelry online. *sigh* I still enjoy the process, as long as I don't expect too much out of it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Apparently Mr W is growing up. I was taking him to camp last week and on the way from the car to the door of camp, we saw the older sister of one of his friends. I called out to her, and waved my hands to say hi. My thinking at the time is that she's a semi-dramatic tweener and would appreciate my little show of flair.

We got into Mr W's room and he is visibly upset. I have no idea what's going on, but he is beside himself and I can't recall having seen him like this before. I pull him aside and say, "What's going on?" He says something to the effect that I embarrassed him by waving my arms and that he does NOT like the friend's sister.


And then I get it. He's got a crush on this girl and took my actions as trying to draw attention to HIM. I had no idea. I had to pull him aside again after he walked away. He asked if I would go and tell her that what I did had nothing to do with him, and I advised that it was probably better just to let it drop.

On my way back to the car, I thought about how this is sort of the first manifestation of a crush that I've seen in him, and that I was relieved that it was on a girl. I love him of course no matter what, and accept him for who and what he is no matter what, but I think it's easier in this world to make your way if you're in the majority for something like that.

Last night, I went to a baseball game with the single parent group. Mr W was camping with his dad as part of a schedule change, but I had planned the event so I went. There's a guy there who has a daughter the same age as Mr W and we commiserate about them together. The daughter is high on drama and is awkward at the same time, which makes for interesting interactions. At one point, I was going to tell her that her team got a run, and when I said her name, she turned around and said "What?!" in that tweener way that's like fingers on a chalkboard. Oy. Sort of glad I've got a boy to deal with. :-)